Commissioner Respond to Pushback Over MPD Letter

ANC6A Report

77

Chair Amber Gove (6A04) convened the Sept. 10 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A via Webex, with Commissioners Marie-Claire Brown (6A01), Phil Toomajian (6A02), Mike Soderman (6A03), Ruth Ann Hudson (6A05), Stephanie Zimny (6A06), Sondra Phillips-Gilbert (6A07) and Brian Alcorn (6A08) in attendance.

During ANC6A’s June meeting, the commissioners voted to send a letter to Mayor Bowser and Councilmember Allen in support of continued funding for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), with a focus on funding mental health services. This motion was the last piece of official business brought before the ANC. Time expired before the commissioners were able to hear adequate community feedback before voting.

Similarly, adequate time was not allocated during the July ANC6A meeting to allow for community comments relating to the letter. As a result, a petition was posted online which led to a dialogue between Gove and concerned members of the ANC, culminating in a listening session at the August meeting of the Community Outreach Committee (COC), with seven out of eight commissioners present. In response to comments heard during this listening session, Gove, Brown, Phillips-Gilbert and Alcorn read prepared remarks during the September meeting of ANC6A.

Speaking first, Gove began by affirming that “we have much to do to rectify four-hundred-plus years of racism” and apologizing to the community and accepting responsibility, in her capacity as chair of the ANC, for how the initial motion was handled during the June meeting. She explained that the motion should have been posted as an agenda item to allow for more community input, and she committed to redoubling efforts to post future ANC business on the agenda in advance of each meeting.

In defense of the commissioners’ decision, she continued, “[While] our neighbors are outraged by the repeated injustices against black and brown neighbors … they don’t believe dismantling the police force is the first step we need to get there.” She went on to express concern for the immense variety of situations the police are expected to handle. “Relying on our police force to solve all of our challenges,” she said, “is like relying on emergency rooms for healthcare.” Statements made by Brown, Phillips-Gilbert and Alcorn largely echoed the sentiments of Gove.

The commissioners then heard prepared statements from a number of residents both in support of the original motion and in opposition.

Gove explained that while the original letter could not be rescinded, as the budget was complete, the ANC would draft a follow-up to the DC Council including comments from residents. She also encouraged residents to report specific instances of concern to MPD’s community outreach coordinators or the Office of Police Complaints. Commissioners voted unanimously to draft a follow-up letter to the DC Council including comments from residents.

A full recording of this meeting, including each commissioner’s statements, is available at www.ANC6A.org/agendas/.

Motions and Committee Recommendations
The commissioners voted to table sending letters to MPD First District Commander Morgan C. Kane and Commander William Fitzgerald, MPD Fifth District, to raise concerns about reports from constituents that MPD is not compliant with current health and safety guidelines and other regulations pertaining to ensuring reasonable accommodations for all community members, including sign language interpretation.

The commissioners tabled sending a letter to the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) inquiring how it plans to ensure access to recreation centers and facilities for the community.

The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter of support for the stipulated application of DC Culinary Academy LLC, t/a Brine, at 1357-1359 H St. NE (ABRA #110889) for a modification to the establishment’s ABRA license to add a summer garden endorsement; and that the ANC authorize the chair of the ANC and/or co-chairs of the Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABL) to sign such letter.

The commissioners voted unanimously to modify ANC6A’s settlement agreement with Callister Technology and Entertainment LLC, t/a Duffy’s Irish Pub, at 1016 H St. NE (ABRA #111076) to allow for four special events per year with live music in the summer garden until 9 p.m., provided that notice of the event be given to the chair of the ANC and the co-chairs of the ABL at least 48 hours before the event; and that the ANC authorize the chair of the ANC and/or co-chairs of the ABL to negotiate and file such modification.

The commissioners voted unanimously to modify ANC6A’s settlement agreement with Callister Technology and Entertainment LLC, t/a Duffy’s Irish Pub, at 1016 H St. NE (ABRA #111076) to allow for a second sidewalk café, coterminous with the designated “parklet,” with identical hours to the establishment’s existing sidewalk café, and an occupancy limit consistent with all DC government guidance and restrictions, and that the ANC authorize the chair of the ANC and/or co-chairs of the ABL to negotiate and file such modification.

The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) requesting striping at intersections to be identified by the Transportation and Public Space Committee, with opportunity for community input prior to the next ANC meeting. The initial draft list is: D Street at each intersection from Ninth to 14th streets, plus 16th and 19th streets NE; 12th Street at C, D and E streets NE, Wylie Court and I Street NE; I Street from Eighth Street to Florida Avenue NE; 13th Street at D, E and F streets NE.

The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to DDOT requesting a hearing postponement of Public Space Application 353808 for the replacement of a non-conforming fence at 1660 Gales St. NE because the case was received by the ANC without 30 days’ notice prior to the hearing.

The commissioners voted unanimously to require extra signage announcing upcoming Economic Development and Zoning Committee (EDZ) meeting and ANC meeting dates for all applicants for zoning and historic district relief before they are added to the agenda for the EDZ. The signage will be printed and made available by the ANC and must be posted in a prominent location.

ANC 6A will hold its next meeting on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. on Webex. For more information visit www.anc6a.org.